‘Zifa, PSL can­not co­ex­ist’

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Ngqwele Dube

FOR­MER Zifa vice-pres­i­dent and High­landers chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Ndu­miso Gumede as well as for­mer Pre­mier Soc­cer League sec­re­tary-gen­eral Chris Sambo say they back calls to dis­band the PSL.

Farayi Mungazi, a Zim­bab­wean sports jour­nal­ist work­ing for the BBC in Lon­don, wrote in yes­ter­day’s Chron­i­cle that es­tab­lish­ment of the PSL was an illthought and self-serv­ing idea that should never have been al­lowed to hap­pen.

Mungazi ar­gued that Zim­babwe’s econ­omy can­not sup­port both Zifa and the PSL and the lat­ter’s birth had had a cor­ro­sive ef­fect on Zifa’s bot­tom line and warned that the knock-on ef­fects would take many years to deal with.

Gumede said it was un­ten­able for the two bod­ies to con­tinue co-ex­ist­ing and one had to ul­ti­mately give way to the other.

Gumede told jour­nal­ists at the High­landers’ weekly press con­fer­ence yes­ter­day that Zifa could not be ex­pected to gen­er­ate funds when the eas­i­est route was through the PSL. Zifa presently gets a six per­cent gate tak­ings share from all PSL matches.

He felt the PSL, which wrig­gled its way out of Zifa in 1992, could be dis­banded and fall un­der Zifa or the mother body could main­tain a min­i­mal role in the game and diplo­mat­i­cally run ex­ter­nal af­fairs, while the PSL runs the do­mes­tic game.

“I’m talk­ing like this be­cause I have been through the mill and I know how things used to work when I was at Zifa and we were in charge of the Su­per League. Zifa man­aged to ac­quire all prop­er­ties, which in­clude the of­fice in Bu­l­awayo, the house in Avondale and the in­fa­mous 53 Liv­ing­stone Av­enue in Harare, dur­ing this pe­riod from funds gen­er­ated from foot­ball,” said Gumede.

“When I was at Zifa, com­pa­nies would fall over each other to spon­sor us and if an en­tity ap­proached us with less than $100 000, we would just say ‘thank you please go and try Di­vi­sion One’. That’s how good it was; un­for­tu­nately most of my col­leagues are late, but you can get hold of Frank Valde­marca, who is in Canada, I’m sure he will tell you what I am talk­ing about.”

Gumede felt hav­ing two bod­ies with one call­ing it­self the mother body and the other be­ing a prized en­tity has not worked in the in­ter­est of the game in the coun­try.

He ques­tioned where money levied as fines on PSL teams was go­ing and com­plained that touch­line ad­ver­tis­ing was not ben­e­fit­ing clubs de­spite them be­ing the crowd pullers.

Gumede also cited the pa­tron­age ten­dency for hin­der­ing de­vel­op­ment and spon­sor­ship.

“This con­nec­tions syn­drome is the one killing our game. If you don’t have con­nec­tions, you won’t get a cent ir­re­spec­tive of how good your idea or pre­sen­ta­tion is. I think we ought to be say­ing as Zim­bab­weans we all have a na­tional duty to sup­port the game and put our dif­fer­ences aside,” Gumede said.

Sambo con­curred with Mungazi’s sub­mis­sion, say­ing a large chunk of the foot­ball cake was go­ing to the PSL, but there was lit­tle in­vest­ment in the game.

Rev­enues gen­er­ated by the PSL, Sambo said, largely funded man­age­ment salaries and al­lowances.

“When you stop and think about it, you will re­alise the PSL doesn’t fund much in terms of foot­ball de­vel­op­ment, ju­nior pro­grammes or na­tional teams. Yes they hold sem­i­nars here and there, but how many are they,” said Sambo.

He said the pull­out of topflight clubs to form the PSL in 1992 was caused by poor man­age­ment of Zifa and if the na­tional as­so­ci­a­tion were to put its house in or­der, there would be no need for two com­pet­ing struc­tures fight­ing for the same spon­sors in an en­vi­ron­ment where cor­po­rate sup­port is hard to come by.

How­ever, for­mer Zifa boss Vin­cent Pamire said he was op­posed to the idea of dis­band­ing the PSL and was of the opin­ion that the as­so­ci­a­tion should sus­tain it­self from its own com­pe­ti­tions that in­volve PSL teams rather than col­laps­ing the Premier­ship.

“I was one of those at the fore­front of the pull­out from Zifa and I don’t think a re­turn would help the sit­u­a­tion,” said Pamire.

“Zifa should sim­ply be or­gan­ised and host its own tour­na­ments such as the Zifa Cup from which they can get rev­enue from gate tak­ings. Poor man­age­ment led to the dis­ap­pear­ance of such tour­na­ments, but their re­turn can help Zifa shore up its earn­ings,” he said.

Zifa is reel­ing from a $6 mil­lion debt they are strug­gling to liq­ui­date and have bat­tled to fund the var­i­ous na­tional teams. Sambo said Zifa should also get a share of pro­ceeds from tele­vi­sion rights and touch­line ad­ver­tis­ing. “It is un­for­tu­nate our clubs are not even re­ceiv­ing a share of in­come from touch­line ad­ver­tis­ing when i nte rnat i on a l clubs heav­ily rely on them for rev­enues,” he said. -@ rasmthembo

Kelvin Kaindu Erol Ak­bay

Ndu­miso Gumede

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